Dreaming of Dragonflies

An installation of dragonfly wing palladium prints: from micro to macro, our world can expand.

I work with animals, insects and plants and collage them with photographs I have done of our bodies to show our unity, in this time of climate crisis, with the natural world. I always enjoy watching dragonflies flying over ponds of water. I marvel at their wing span as they navigate near the water’s surface. I love how their wings reflect light as they flit and hover over water.

Dragonflies are known and sometimes revered all over the world. There are as many as 5000 species of dragonfly. Learning how many cultures have myths and beliefs associated with dragonflies has increased my own admiration and love for them.

One of the names of Japan is Akitsushima which means island of dragonflies. For Aboriginals in Australia dragonflies symbolize dancing and a reminder for humans to look within. In Welsh mythology, the word for dragonfly means snake’s servant, as they are often seen in the same environs as snakes. In the South West of the U.S., native Americans see dragonflies as the helper to bring rain and water in the dry areas. Celtic mythology has 23 names for the dragonfly.

In all these beliefs and myths, dragonflies are associated with change and transformation, particularly to bring more light and joy into our lives.

I have done this installation of dragonfly wings with close up of Iris flowers in palladium prints on Japanese gampi papers.

Our Plant-Human Connection

I hold this print up to the light to view the translucent Gampi paper used to print this Iris with palladium.

My artwork embraces our embeddedness in the natural world. With my fingers CARRESSING an Iris, like a honeybee seeking nectar, I see its forms. I rotate the Iris this way and that way to create with my enlarger camera-less 16X20 inch negatives. For me the IRIS is a landscape, an ecosystem in constant becoming, a landscape of transcendence.

I print my negatives with palladium, using sunlight to expose the thin, translucent gampi paper. As I look at one of my prints titled IRIS GEOMETRY, I see how the palladium emulsion is absorbed to reveal the depth of the image.